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Boom State

Oil flowingIn the 1960s the Western Australian economy experienced a boom due to a massive increase in the types and volume of minerals being mined. Since 1890 gold had been the leading resource mined and exported from the State, but the discovery of huge new deposits of coal, iron ore, nickel, alumina, mineral sands and oil and gas in the 1950s and 1960s led to the development of new mining ventures. Export of iron ore began in 1966, the same year nickel was discovered at Kambalda, while the mining of mineral sands (1957), bauxite (1964) and oil (1966) all commenced in this period.

As a result of the mining boom, Western Australia's position within the Commonwealth changed. The rapid development and exploitation of its mineral resources during the 1970s transformed Western Australia from a recipient State dependent on Commonwealth grants financing government programs into one of the wealthiest States in the Commonwealth. By the turn of the century Western Australia contributed 28% of the nation's export earnings through its mining and farming industries.

With the turnaround in Western Australia's financial fortunes, secessionist feelings of resentment towards the federal government did not change. Complaints about Western Australia's position now focussed on the Commonwealth taking more than its fair share of the wealth of Western Australia.

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